Meritas Holdings - Kindom of Bahrain.
The client had
purchased a site in Westminster London for redevelopment into luxury flats. The
site had accommodated an old school now demolished plus additional buildings all
with separate assessments which totalled in excess of £250,000 rateable value.
We were instructed in 2017 after receiving a panicky call to say bailiffs were demandingV
100’s of thousands of pounds in unpaid rates dating back to 2012.
It transpired that, the client did not realize when they purchased the site in 2012 that
notwithstanding all the buildings were empty there was still an ongoing rate liability per
year of over £125,000. By 2017 this had reached over £500,000! But due to the rate
demands being sent to an old PO Box in Bahrain, the first the client knew about the debt was
when the bailiffs turned up at the site.
There were a number of issues here.
The first was whether the date of deletion used by the Valuation office was correct ?
Secondly, were the original assessments correct?
Under rating Law a building can be deleted when the scheme of works starts. That is
usually when stripping out works commence.
Using Google street view we were able to prove that the site was fenced off over 9 months
prior to the deletion date used by the Valuation Office. In addition we successfully argued that,
even though the buildings were gone, that the assessments in place were out of line
with the general tone in the area. We agreed a further reduction on all assessments of over
We also managed to persuade Westminster City Council to back date the reductions to
2012 and also refund the bailiff fees.
All in all it resulted in a £200,000 saving to the client.